Leon is one of the leonine names that is extremely hot in Europe right now—it's Number 20 in Sweden, Number 17 in Norway, and Number 55 in Scotland. Although it peaked here in the 1920s, it is slowly making its way back, now at Number 314, and it could climb further with parents wanting a more serious and studious alternative to Leo.
Russian Marxist revolutionary Lev Davidovich Bronstein is known to history as Leon Trotsky. Leon (LAY-on) has been the name of three French prime ministers and was recently in the news via then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Leon Russell (born Claude) is a respected singer-songwriter, and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie used Leon for their son Knox's middle name.